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Refugees behind a barbed wire fence.
Source: Shutterstock / Ajdin Kamber
New European asylum rules officially approved
Published at: 5/15/2024, 2:20 PM

The European Union (EU) has created a plan to ensure that fewer people come to Europe to seek asylum. This plan has now received final approval from the European Council.

This is what the new plan entails


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European Council
agreed on 14 May 2024 to new rules to ensure that fewer people seek asylum in Europe. Exactly how those rules will be implemented is not yet clear. But you can read the most important plans below:

Faster assessment of people fleeing to Europe
Another procedure for people from safe countries
EU countries can choose whether to receive asylum seekers
The EU wants a new Dublin system

It took eight years for the EU to agree.

It took eight years for all EU member states to agree to the plan. During that time, there was much debate among member states. Some countries, such as those on Europe's external borders, felt abandoned. They were angry that other countries did not want to take in refugees. Other countries, including the Netherlands, were angry that border countries were allowing refugees to pass through.

The new rules will not go into effect until 2026 at the earliest

The new rules do not go into effect immediately yet. EU countries have 2 years to implement the rules in their own countries. This is because all EU countries must comply with these new rules. If the countries manage to implement the rules nationally in 2 years, the rules will go into effect from the middle of 2026.

The EU also has yet to reach agreements with other countries

The EU also wants to make arrangements with countries where people come from who want to seek asylum within the EU. The EU wants to be able to send people who are not granted asylum back to their own countries. If that fails, the reception centres will quickly become too full.

The EU also wants to make agreements with countries on Europe's external borders. They want to agree with those countries that people must apply for asylum in those countries before they are allowed entry into Europe. Now people first come to Europe and apply for asylum within Europe. Agreements have already been made with Albania, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon.

The Dutch government is in favour of these rules but human rights organisations are not

A small majority of the Dutch House of Representatives is in favour of these new rules. But many human rights organisations are not. In the Netherlands, Oxfam Novib, Médecins Sans Frontières, VluchtelingenWerk Nederland, Pax and Stichting Vluchteling, among others, have made it known that they oppose these rules.

They asked the Netherlands to vote against it, believing, among other things, that it will make flight routes to Europe even more dangerous.

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